A Great Customer Service Story: My MacBook Repair

I love it when I can say something nice. This is a little story about a good customer service experience. I haven’t had one of those in quite a while.

A few months ago, I noticed my nice white MacBook was getting red stains on the wrist rest area. I tried cleaning it, but nothing would remove the stains. Over the next month, the stains got worse. I did some research, and discovered that this was a known problem with the initial batch of white MacBooks. Apple would repair them if you asked. However, since it didn’t affect the performance of the machine at all, and I didn’t want to be without it for the weeks that I knew it would take for a repair, I just let it go.

A few weeks ago, my coworker Adam also got a white MacBook. This started a round of pleasantries such as “It’s just like yours, Jonathan… only without the red stains all over the keypad.” After a few weeks of this good-natured ribbing – plus noticing that Adam’s MacBook was indeed glistening white in a way that mine no longer did – I finally decided to bite the bullet and get the repair work done.

Last Friday, I called Apple Care and explained my situation. I figured I’d have to pay for the repair, since it was, after all, purely cosmetic. I also figured I’d have to wade through four or five heavily accented “Customer Care Representatives” until I would finally be able to clearly explain that I just wanted to have a new, stain-resistant wrist pad installed. To my shock and surprise, the call was brief, clear, and to the point. Chris, who sounded like he was located in Canada, listened to my problem and immediately said “Yes, we’ll fix that, and it is under warranty. There won’t be any charge to you at all”.

Chris advised me to remove any memory I might have installed, to be sure to back up the hard drive completely, and to be ready to ship the computer in. He said they would send me an empty box with packing material and shipping labels, and I was to return the laptop in that package. I wrote down the case number, thanked Chris, and hung up. I figured it would be a while before anything happened.

Shock #1. DHL delivered an empty box with full packaging materials the very next day.

Shock #2. The box came with foam material that exactly fit my MacBook, and had a prepaid shipping label already attached. There were also clear instructions, and a document that explained it would take around 10 business days to repair the laptop.

I removed my 2 GB of RAM, put back in the original 512MB SIMMS, and after backing up my hard disk, I packed the laptop up in the box. Later in the day, I dropped off the box at a local DHL pickup place. I figured I would check up in 2 or 3 weeks to see how the repair was going.

Shock #3. Tuesday, when I got home, there was a FedEx delivery notice on my door. I wasn’t expected anything from FedEx, but signed the slip anyway, and left it on my door. I wondered what I must’ve ordered that I had forgotten. It never crossed my mind that it could be my MacBook… not that fast… that would be flat-out impossible.

Shock #4. This morning, on a whim, I went to Apple’s web site and typed in my case number, just to see if the tracking information from DHL had perhaps been posted. Instead, I saw a status “Completed and Delivered”. I clicked on the details link, and saw the following: “Monday 3/5: Received. Monday 3/5 Repair Completed. Monday 3/5 Shipped to Customer. Tuesday 3/6 Attempted Delivery to Customer. Wednesday 3/7, package left on customer’s instruction on front porch. Case is closed“.

I could not believe it. How could they have received the computer, repaired it, and returned it to me all in a single day? No electronics company does anything like that! It’s unheard of!

Shock #5. I got home this evening and found my MacBook returned, with a brand-new internal keypad area, and the case completely cleaned. Not a scratch on it, and not a single problem. I put my memory back in, fired it up, and it’s like I just bought it.

Why…. why can’t all customer service be like this? Chris not only answered the phone pleasantly and in clear English, but he knew exactly how to solve my problem and wasted no time in getting me the shipping materials. Whoever received the computer at Apple fixed it and returned it via next-day air in a single day. All told, I was without my MacBook for a mere 4 days. At no charge at all to me. And at very little inconvenience.

Now, maybe, just maybe, it’s because this was only a cosmetic problem that everything went so smoothly. But I doubt it. At least for the foreseeable future, the only computers in this household will have an Apple somewhere on them, and will come in a box that says “Designed by Apple in California” on it. It’s not just that Apple makes better computers that run everyone else’s OSes in addition to their own… it’s not just that they look and feel so much nicer than the competition… it’s that it is very obvious that they care. A lot.

I, for one, appreciate it very much. Thanks, Chris in Canada. Thanks, Apple. Obviously, you know how to keep a customer.

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